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One brick at a time: Lego joins bio-plastic revolution

Lego will make its first major move away from plastic this year by manufacturing its green ‘botanical’ pieces out of sugarcane, the same material pioneered by Manchester packaging firm Duo UK.

Lego will make its first major move away from plastic this year by manufacturing its green ‘botanical’ pieces out of sugarcane, the same material pioneered by Manchester packaging firm Duo UK.

Botanical elements such as leaves, bushes and trees will now be made from bio-based polyethylene (PE), a flexible yet durable plastic, using ethanol from sugarcane. 

It is the Danish toymaker’s first significant move away from fossil fuel based plastics since announcing an investment of more than £100 million in research and development for sustainable raw materials in 2015. 

Although it will initially make up just 1-2 per cent of LEGO pieces, the company described by vice the move as “a great first step” towards making all LEGO bricks from sustainable materials.

The new raw material is sustainably sourced through the Bioplastic Feedstock Alliance (BFA), an initiative of WWF. 

Alix Grabowski, a senior program officer at WWF, said: “It is essential that companies in each industry find ways to responsibly source their product materials and help ensure a future where people, nature, and the economy thrive.

“The LEGO Group’s decision to pursue sustainably sourced bio-based plastics represents an incredible opportunity to reduce dependence on finite resources.”

The sugarcane-based PE is the same material used by Manchester packaging manufacturer, Duo UK, to produce the world’s first ‘carbon negative’ mailing bag in 2017.

LEGO has also been making progress on greening its energy use, having already hit its target of balancing 100 per cent of its energy consumption in factories, stores and offices by investing in renewable energy projects.